P.S.  Please stop it with voting for Trump. It was funny for a little while. But the guy is Hitler. And by that I mean that we are being Germany in the 30s. Do you think they saw the shit coming? Hitler was just some hilarious and refreshing dude with a weird comb over who would say anything at all.

And I’m not advocating for Hillary or Bernie. I like them both but frankly I wish the next president was a conservative only because we had Obama for eight years and we need balance. And not because I particularly enjoy the conservative agenda. I just think the government should reflect the people. And we are about 40 percent conservative and 40 percent liberal. When I was growing up and when I was a younger man, liberals and conservatives were friends with differences. They weren’t enemies. And it always made sense that everyone gets a president they like for a while and then hates the president for a while. But it only works if the conservatives put up a good candidate. A good smart conservative to face the liberal candidate so they can have a good argument and the country can decide which way to go this time.

Trump is not that. He’s an insane bigot. He is dangerous.

He already said he would expand libel laws to sue anyone who “writes a negative hit piece” about him. He says “I would open up the libel laws so we can sue them and win lots of money. Not like now. These guys are totally protected.” He said that. He has promised to decimate the first amendment. (If you think he’s going to keep the second amendment intact you’re delusional.) And he said that Paul Ryan, speaker of the house will “pay” for criticizing him. So I’m saying this now because if he gets in there we won’t be able to criticize him anymore.

Please pick someone else. Like John Kasich. I mean that guy seems okay. I don’t like any of them myself but if you’re that kind of voter please go for a guy like that. It feels like between him and either democrat we’d have a decent choice. It feels like a healthier choice. We shouldn’t have to vote for someone because they’re not a shocking cunt billionaire liar.

We should choose based on what direction the country should go.

I get that all these people sound like bullshit soft criminal opportunists. The whole game feels rigged and it’s not going anywhere but down anymore. I feel that way sometimes.

And that voting for Trump is a way of saying “fuck it. Fuck them all”. I really get it. It’s a version of national Suicide. Or it’s like a big hit off of a crack pipe. Somehow we can’t help it. Or we know that if we vote for Trump our phones will be a reliable source of dopamine for the next four years. I mean I can’t wait to read about Trump every day. It’s a rush. But you have to know this is not healthy.

If you are a true conservative. Don’t vote for Trump. He is not one of you. He is one of him. Everything you have heard him say that you liked, if you look hard enough you will see that he one day said the exact opposite. He is playing you.

In fact, if you do vote for Trump, at least look at him very carefully first. You owe that to the rest of us. Know and understand who he is. Spend one hour on google and just read it all. I don’t mean listen to me or listen to liberals who put him down. Listen to your own people. Listen to John Mccain. Go look at what he just said about Trump. “At a time when our world has never been more complex or more in danger… I want Republican voters to pay close attention to what our party’s most respected and knowledgeable leaders and national security experts are saying about Mr. Trump, and to think long and hard about who they want to be our next Commander-in-Chief and leader of the free world.”

When Trump was told what he said, Trump said “Oh, he did? Well, that’s not nice,” he told CBS News’ chief White House correspondent Major Garrett. “He has to be very careful.”

When pressed on why, Trump tacked on: “He’ll find out.”

(I cut and pasted that from CBS news)

Do you really want a guy to be president who threatens John McCain? Because John McCain cautiously and intelligently asked for people to be thoughtful before voting for him? He didn’t even insult Trump. He just asked you to take a good look. And Trump told him to look out.

Remember that Trump entered this race by saying that McCain is not a war hero. A guy who was shot down, body broken and kept in a POW camp for years. Trump said “I prefer the guys who don’t get caught.” Why did he say that? Not because he meant it or because it was important to say. He said it because he’s a bully and every bully knows that when you enter a new school yard, you go to the toughest most respected guy on the yard and you punch him in the nose. If you are still standing after, you’re the new boss. If Trump is president, he’s not going to change. He’s not going to do anything for you. He’s going to do everything for himself and leave you in the dust.

So please listen to fellow conservatives. But more importantly, listen to Trump. Listen to all of it. Everything he says. If you liked when he said that “torture works” then go look at where he took it back the next day. He’s a fucking liar.

A vote for Trump is so clearly a gut-vote, and again I get it. But add a little brain to it and look the guy up. Because if you vote for him because of how you feel right now, the minute he’s president, you’re going to regret it. You’re going to regret it even more when he gives the job to his son. Because American democracy is broken enough that a guy like that could really fuck things up. That’s how Hitler got there. He was voted into power by a fatigued nation and when he got inside, he did all his Hitler things and no one could stop him.

Again, I’m not saying vote democrat or vote for anyone else. If Hilary ends up president it should be because she faced the best person you have and you and I both chose her or him or whoever. Trump is not your best. He’s the worst of all of us. He’s a symptom to a problem that is very real. But don’t vote for your own cancer. You’re better than that.

That’s just my view. At least right now. I know I’m not qualified or particularly educated and I’m not right instead of you. I’m an idiot and I’m sure a bunch of you are very annoyed by this. Fucking celebrity with an opinion. I swear this isn’t really a political opinion. You don’t want to know my political opinions.   (And I know that I’m only bringing myself trouble with this shit.) Trump has nothing to do with politics or ideology. He has to do with himself. And really I don’t mean to insult anyone. Except Trump. I mean to insult him very much. And really I’m not saying he’s evil or a monster. In fact I don’t think Hitler was. The problem with saying that guys like that are monsters is that we don’t see them coming when they turn out to be human, which they all are. Everyone is. Trump is a messed up guy with a hole in his heart that he tries to fill with money and attention. He can never ever have enough of either and he’ll never stop trying. He’s sick. Which makes him really really interesting. And he pulls you towards him which somehow feels good or fascinatingly bad. He’s not a monster. He’s a sad man. But all this makes him horribly dangerous if he becomes president. Give him another TV show. Let him pay to put his name on buildings. But please stop voting for him.


Mary Elizabeth Durr 1964 - 1983

This is where I was on your fiftieth birthday.

And some of the other birthdays, too, mostly in the twenties.  And some other days when my wanderings led me back to this town, to the narrow path where I parked and walked up this short, steep hill.

This is where I cleared away weeds that grew in the planters long after the rose bushes surrendered to the elements.  This is where I sat leaning back on my hands in the thickness of upstate July evenings until the lawn’s image transferred to my palms.  This is where I brought my broken heart for years and returned again after it had mended.


Years passed and I grieved for you every day.  Every day I thought of you, maybe just for a moment, maybe just when an echo sounded like your laugh. Every day until, until I didn’t.  And it was okay. I missed you still, but I mourned less.

But this town, this town that was never my home, this town became a ghost town for me.  You were gone but you were always here. On a quiet night not long after we married my wife and I talked about loved ones lost and the ritual of the cemetery.  She said, I don’t have to visit the cemetery, I know he is not there. I said, I know she is not there, either – but that is where I am when I am with her.

So I came back, but less regularly and with fewer tears.  And with time I found peace here, peace with your death, peace with the schoolboy who loved you, peace with the man I became.

This is where I was on your fiftieth birthday. I laid my head on the ground and watched an eagle float in the stiff summer wind, so perfectly outlined against the clearest blue sky.  And I was filled with peace.

Mary Elizabeth Durr 1964 - 1983
Mary Elizabeth Durr
1964 – 1983

The Long Road Home

Twenty years ago today we moved in to our house with sleeping bags, a single lamp and a bottle of champagne.  We slept on the floor in the living room, all of our stuff still in our apartment across town.  I wrote this piece in 1997 about Home:


I am haunted by a desire to drive across the country. Maybe “haunted” is a little strong.

I am infrequently spooked by a desire to drive across the country. And I mean across the country. It’s not like I live in Nashville and I have a burning desire to load the fambly in to the Aerostar and haul ‘em to Atlanta for a weekend. I want to get on the New York State Thruway at Exit 36 and drive and drive and drive until I get to Seattle. Then I am going to turn around and come back because there really isn’t any reason to go to Seattle. It just happens to be at the other end of I-90.

I know what you are thinking; but, heck, you wouldn’t be reading my weekly epistle if you didn’t already think that I was crazy (though I prefer to think of it as being “misunderstood”). Crazy or not, I want to get in a car and drive eight to twelve hours each day at highway speeds (especially in Montana) until the damn road stops. I want to go, not for the sake of arriving, but for the sake of going.

I can’t help it. I was born on the road.

My father spent twenty years of his life in the service of this country as a member of the United States Air Force. I went along for the ride in my first fourteen years. Most of the bases we were stationed at have been closed (Griffiss in New York, Loring and Dow in Maine), been wiped off the planet by a hurricane (Homestead in Florida) or become sexual playgrounds for bomber pilots (Minot in North Dakota). Viewed in that way they are no different than a lot of the small towns in America (minus the bomber pilots, of course).

Each of these forgotten bastions of the Cold War served as the hometown du jour for me and my siblings. We sometimes lived on base and when we didn’t we were living in a town that would dry up and blow away if (they said if in those days, not when) the base ever closed. Every couple of years we re-lived an accelerated life cycle of a small town, making friends, making enemies, getting in trouble and getting along. About the time you figured out who you could get along with and who would beat you just for fun Dad would get his orders.

From 1964 to 1978 my body traveled the following route completely by automobile : Florida to Maine to California to Maine to New York to North Dakota to Wisconsin to New York. I’ll save you the trouble of looking it up: it’s 12174 miles. Every mile in a station wagon, from a Country Squire to a Vista Cruiser to a Rambler to a Chevelle. Drive and drive and drive.

And for what?

At the end of every journey was another base with a school full of new classmates, some of them (Air Force) brats like me, some of them not. Make friends or make enemies, it didn’t really matter because in about two years either your old man or their old man would get orders. See ya. Or, more accurately, not gonna see ya. Ever again.

So, we’re back on the road heading for another base. Back on the highway, driving in storms and deserts, mountains and sunshine. But always driving. In the end the destination didn’t matter because it was just a starting point for the next journey. And, so, the journey became more important. The road was more interesting than the wide spots in it that many people called home.

Now I am 33 and I have spent more than half of my life not on the road. For a while I had a hard time adjusting. I traded in my first car with two and a half years left on the loan and 98,000+ miles on the odometer. Syracuse to Detroit to West Lafayette to Columbus – and back – in one long holiday weekend? Done it. Not recently, though, and I am starting to get The Itch.

A couple of miles from my front door Interstate 90 swaggers through New York State under the moniker of The Thruway. Heading west I-90 carries you through the shoulder of Pennsylvania, the breadth of Ohio and Indiana, through Chicago and on to Madison before hopping the Mississippi in to Minnesota. From eastern border to western border it covers Minnesota and South Dakota then it slips through the north east corner of Wyoming before making the big climb through The Rockies in Montana and the panhandle of Idaho. The last leg connects Spokane to Seattle and there it just stops.

In 1978 my father retired from the Air Force and I said good bye to my good friend Pat. He’s living in Seattle now and we talk on the phone once a year or so. When the road finally takes me there I will look him up, we’ll have a beer and nineteen years of laughs. Then I’ll grab my keys and go.

I am still infrequently spooked by the call of the road, but now the journey has a new importance. Now the road brings me home.

Postscript : I met up with Pat in Seattle in 2001.  We laughed and drank and laughed for hours.